— Star Wars (@starwars) June 2, 2014
Finally, Lupita Nyong’o’s first post-Oscar role has been made official: “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
No word on what breakout star Nyongo’o, who swept award season with a devastating turn in “12 Years a Slave,” will play in the highly anticipated franchise film directed by J.J. Abrams. Production company Lucasfilm made the announcement Monday morning; also joining Nyong’o is actress Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones,” “Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2”).
“I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of ‘Episode VII,'” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape.”
The previously announced cast includes original stars Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2). In addition, newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow. The news broke in a grand announcement in late April, after weeks of rumors about who would reunite for the film, scheduled for a Dec. 18, 2015, release.
There’s been lots of chatter about Nyong’o’s next big career move, especially in light of her Oscar win and the unfortunately typical type of lackluster roles out there for younger actresses — the 31-year-old had stayed quiet on that front since award season. She’s reportedly in talks for a voiceover part in a new adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” and she recently optioned the film rights to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah.”
Still Nyong’o has stayed in the headlines over the oast few months, thanks to being declared Hollywood’s new fashion icon. Plus, she landed the cover of People magazine’s Most Beautiful People in the World issue, the third woman of African descent to win the award in its 25-year-old history. “The way she carries herself with such grace…put her over the top,” the mag’s editorial director, Jess Cagle, said of the choice.